Understanding Semi-Truck Hours of Service Changes and How They Affect California Accident Victims

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At Hanning & Sacchetto, our Whittier, California personal injury attorneys understand how changes brought forward by our national and global health crisis are affecting our communities.

These changes are far-reaching and affect the way transportation authorities are adapting to the nation’s fluid needs for medical supplies, equipment, food, and other necessities.

In mid-March 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration suspended an 82-year-old road safety hours of service law for some truck drivers, which allows them to surpass the previously mandated operation hours to deliver more goods.

It is important to understand, however, this exception does not apply to all truck drivers and trucking companies. And it does not give truck drivers free rein to operate their semi-trucks negligently.

The rules of the road still apply to everyone, even during difficult times.

What Are the New Hours of Service Rules for Truck Drivers in California?

The revised commercial motor vehicle hours of service rules apply to operations providing direct assistance in support of emergency relief efforts related to the COVID-19 outbreaks.

The hours of service changes apply to truck drivers and trucking companies transporting goods to meet the immediate needs for:

  • Fuel
  • Persons designated by Federal, State or local authorities for medical, isolation, or quarantine purposes
  • Persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services
  • Persons, supplies, and equipment necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine, and isolation facilities
  • Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of stores and distribution centers
  • Medical supplies and equipment for testing, diagnosis, and treatment
  • Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention
  • Raw materials including paper, plastic or alcohol required for the manufacture of items in categories

What Types of Commercial Motor Vehicle Are Ineligible for Hours of Service Suspensions?

Any truck driver or trucking company that is not providing direct assistance to the COVID-19 outbreak cannot legally surpass the hours of service outlined by existing laws.

Semi-trucks containing mixed loads, including even a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency goods, are ineligible for the hours of service expansion.

What Happens If I Am Involved in A Truck Accident While the New Laws Are in Place?

At Hanning & Sacchetto, our Whittier truck accident lawyers believe there is no room on our roadways for negligence.

Even if semi-truck drivers can temporarily extend their service hours legally, driving an 80,000-pound commercial truck without sleep, while speeding, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol knowingly places other drivers in danger.

Negligence is never permitted on our roadways, and when someone in our community is hurt because of another’s recklessness, we want to help.

If you are injured in an accident with a truck driver, contact our Whittier personal injury attorneys today to schedule a free consultation, so you can focus on your health and well-being while we discuss the details of your case. Call us (562) 698-6446 to learn more about our legal process and your options to pursue the negligent truck driver, trucking company, or another third-party who caused your injuries.